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Sweden gets Chinese tourism boost

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Sweden gets Chinese tourism boost
12:41 CET+01:00
Chinese tourists are coming to Sweden in record breaking numbers with an increase of 22 percent in just a year with many saying they visit in order to breathe clean air.

According to Statistics Sweden (statista centralbyrån) the amount of Chinese visitors has rocketed by 62 percent since 2008. 

"Something we hear a lot on our travels is that Chinese people think that it is clean in Sweden and that you can breathe clean air," said Ann Lydner, Business Manager with Scandinavian Perspectives to Sveriges Television (SVT).

Figures this year are particularly high with Chinese visitors making 158,000 overnight stays in Sweden between June and September. That's an increase of 22 percent compared to last year while China has the most non European tourists to come to Sweden after the USA.

Stockholm is the biggest draw for Chinese visitors followed by Gothenburg. Most of the tourists tend to travel in groups with their average stay usually between 9 and ten nights for those coming in groups according to VisitSweden.

"Everyone is so happy and polite. When we walked across the street the cars waited on us. I think it's great. In China I can't even imagine that happening," tourist Chuangi Zhang told SVT.

Many tour operators are taking advantage of the Chinese influx by offering audio tours in their native language. Some of the tourists combine their trip with a visit to Norway with most of the tourism occurring during the warm summer months.

However, a new trend for visiting Swedish and Finnish Lapland during the winter is also on the increase.

"Santa Claus lives just there is what all the Chinese know about it," said Ann Lydner.

She added that Chinese tourists are relatively easy to cater for as they want to do the same things as friends did on a previous trip.

The Swedish embassy only began approving visas for individual visits from China three years ago.

"Sweden is well-known in China for its welfare model, healthy and modern lifestyle, being clean and is environmentally considerate. In general Chinese people have a very positive outlook on Sweden and the Swedes," said Thomas Brühl, CEO of Visit Sweden to SVT.  

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